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Finally the pot boils over, foaming thin;
The ceiling blurs, falls fast, a paper plane is hurled
From mountaintop, delirious, spinning, and the world
Splits open like a plastic bag, and truth pours in.


A shadow of theology
Is cast over the lot:
Define the thing that needs must be –
But only by what it’s not.

Sometime the doctrine’s made a quiz,
A kind of riddling game:
There is a Thing which nothing is,
And yet It has a Name!

The final star winks out and leaves
A greyish blue blur in its wake,
Wiped out by dawn, which comes like smoke
That drifts and circles in thick waves.
As if on cue, the first of the sheep
Appears: a bleat to herald clouds.

Yet now there are no specks of cloud
To interrupt the void, though leaves
Are tossed up by the wind. The sheep
Bleat as they walk. A few dogs wake
And answer with barks. The shepherd waves
A passer-by to light his smoke.

A truck comes by, gives off black smoke
That drifts and circles in thick clouds.
The driver blasts his horn and waves
The flock out of his way. He leaves
A path behind him, and his wake
Is filled once more by placid sheep.

The grass is thinning, so the sheep
Move off. Now there is only smoke
And empty silence like a wake,
All funeral-fallow. Then, in clouds
That drift and circle, twigs and leaves
Caught by the wind blow up in waves.

And on that breeze, the sounds of waves
Replace the bleating of the sheep:
The sea is here. Its sigh relieves
The emptiness. The mist and smoke
Conceal the water. Gathering clouds
From out of nowhere burst awake.

The falling raindrops serve to wake
The soil. A lonely flower waves
And says a thank-you to the clouds;
The grass, though eaten down by sheep
Will be replenished. And the smoke
Dwells for a moment, fades, and leaves.

Clouds have put an end to smoke,
Their black-sheep kin. The crumbling leaves
Wave as they fall. Awake, awake!

Silver and gold are my birthright:
Crown, sword, and ring;
Can’t a man find a place
Where nobody wants him for King?

Green and black are my colours:
Soil, seed, and sod;
Can’t a man find a place
Where nobody’s there but God?

There she sits, the boy who was not a boy;
No boy could have been as she. Her mother vowed
From deep in the heart beneath which she dwelled in peace,
Her sleep undisturbed by any touch. Her joy
At the birth turned close to woe: ‘Hath He allowed
My pledge to come to naught?’  Then came release
As certitude settled in. He does not slight
The vows of those who dwell beneath His Holy Light.

But what can be done about the ancient ways
Of the Holy House? And who will take her custody?
She has been offered; none can turn her back.
And so he takes her in. And so she stays
Within the closed mihrab, in pure simplicity;
No boy could have been as she. She does not lack
Of heart, or soul, or mind, or breath, or prayer,
Or sustenance, which comes to her as comes the air.

Thus Zachariah, finding her, exclaims,
‘Whence came you this?’ And she, astonished, says,
‘Do you not know? He gives to whom He wills
Without account,’ her words igniting flames
Of hope within his breast. And so he prays
For life drawn from his life, as life fulfils:
‘Lord, God, from whom came life where there was none,
Renew my life! Grant unto me a living son!’

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